Dr. Bublitz received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of British Columbia and completed her psychology internship and NIH T32 postdoctoral fellowship in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine at Brown Medical School. Bublitz is an Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and the Department of Medicine. She is a clinician and researcher with specialties in perinatal mental health and Integrated Behavioral Health. Bublitz leads several research studies among pregnant and postpartum women at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative, and she is the primary supervisor of the Women’s Primary Care rotation for the psychology internship training program at Brown.
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, defined as a group of diseases including preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational hypertension, and chronic hypertension, are one of the greatest causes of perinatal morbidity and mortality and affect 1 out of every 10 pregnancies in the United States. Hypertension in pregnancy increases lifetime cardiac disease risk by 2-4X and is considered an independent, gender-specific cardiovascular risk factor by the American Heart Association. Treatments of hypertension in pregnancy are extremely limited and include watchful waiting, antihypertensive medications, or ultimately, early delivery. Controlling blood pressure in pregnancy may be complicated by fear of teratogenicity, controversies regarding tight versus less tight control, increased risk for intrauterine growth restriction, congenital heart defects, and placental abruption with some pharmacotherapeutic options.
Mindfulness training holds great potential as an innovative and effective non-pharmacological intervention to prevent hypertension in pregnancy. No studies have evaluated mindfulness training as an intervention to prevent hypertension in pregnancy despite evidence that: 1) in non-pregnant adults, mindfulness training improves cardiovascular functioning and parasympathetic activity, 2) mindfulness training regulates blood pressure among adults with prehypertension and hypertension, and 3) higher trait levels of mindfulness are associated with lower resting blood pressure in healthy pregnant women.
In this CardioPulmonary Vascular Biology COBRE pilot study, we propose to randomly assign N=30 pregnant women with histories of hypertension in a prior pregnancy to a prenatal mindfulness intervention + usual care, or to usual care alone. The primary aim of this study is to examine differences in pathophysiological mechanisms underlying recurrence of hypertensive disorders of pregnant among women receiving mindfulness training versus usual care. The second aim is to examine differences rates of recurrence of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy among women who complete a mindfulness training intervention versus usual care. Our central hypothesis is that mindfulness training will reduce inflammation and improve endothelial function, thus resulting in decreased uterine and systemic vascular resistance and concomitant improvements to blood pressure and hypertensive disease.
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Ghada Bourjeily, MD
Attending Physician, Women’s Medicine Collaborative
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Ocean State Research Institute
Providence VA Medical Center
830 Chalkstone Avenue
Providence RI 02908
Research Funded by
Research reported in this website was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Science of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103652.